Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Don that Tree Skirt

HOLLY JOLLY Holidays, gang! Don your tree skirt and get ready to hang. For my dear friends, I've prepared your weekend party look. There's no need to thank me, just pull out your checkbook. Seriously though, all joking aside, how fab would it be?! To show up to a disco wearing all this greenery!

Cheers to enjoying your holiday festivities. I'm signing off til I've recovered from the activities. In just a few weeks you find me right here, ready to celebrate the coming of the new year!

xo, courtney

sunnies | sweater | earrings | pouch | nails | shoes

Friday, December 14, 2018

but the Fire is So Delightful

The sound of Holiday tunes while padding around the house in stocking feet, the fireplace burning, the lights twinkling - it's all so festive. But it's the music that really sets the tone. To be honest, I'm a huge proponent of quiet; in the car for example, I prefer no noise. No radio, no audiobook, no podcast. My drive to work is pretty short, and there's just something about that time as a transition period between work and personal that helps me mentally shift. At this time of year, once I'm home, I switch on the bluetooth speaker and navigate to my I Smell Snow playlist. (If you know the reference of the title, we can be friends forever.)

The past couple of years I've added a variety of tunes to this playlist, different eras and styles, but all festive. Classics like Frank Sinatra and Burl Ives, throwbacks like Mariah Carey and NSYNC, and modern music like Sia and Pentatonix - there's a little bit of everything. I've embeded the playlist below with 100 songs, but if you want the full list, here's the link to the playlist on Spotify.

What's your favorite holiday song? I'm a fan of "Mary, Did You Know" and "Let it Snow".

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Table Tale

Holiday decor can get so specific, huh? It's like all the shops sort all the "themes" together - like you can only go with the set color palettes. This year try something a little unexpected. Pair your everyday dishes with a lux, velvet runner and a metal garland, peppered with colorful bottle brush trees. Bottle brush trees are everywhere in all colors - pastels, jewel tones, classic green. Choose a few colors you love and line them up down the middle. The metal garland is architectural looking and will play well with the texture of the runner and the trees. For a bit more festive fun, I love these classic Santa face mugs! We had a set similar to these when I was little.

garland | table runner | chandelier | bottle brush trees | table | flatware | dishes | mugs

Friday, December 7, 2018

Gift guide: the Hard to Buy For

In case it hasn't already been drilled into your brain by my last three blog posts, not to mention the bell-ringers outside Macy's, the decorations everywhere, and the massive line outside Santa's Toyland in the mall, Christmas is near. Today I wanted to share a few ideas for the people that are difficult to buy for. Maybe these are the types that buy what they need/want whenever they need/want it. Maybe you feel you can never top the gift they give you. Or maybe they just aren't that into gifts period. Whatever the case, there are still plenty of ways you can show them what they mean to you this holiday season. Using their love language, you can provide them a perfect gift they will appreciate.

First, if you're not sure what the love languages are, pop over and check it out. I'll give a little summary with each before sharing my gifting ideas. I'm concentrating on three of the five because the other two are a little more self-explanatory.

Words of Affirmation
expressing your appreciation for another through words

You don't have to be Shakespeare, John Lennon, or Walt Whitman to be a writer. Just jot down how much this person means to you. Maybe format it into a story, a poem, or a song to be extra playful. Even if it's presented in a silly way (like stand on the chair and sing out your song for everyone to hear), the recipient will be super honored you took the time to put it together. Remember the key to gifting is always showing the person you know them and you recognize what makes them special - not about the actual gift.

Acts of Service 
taking on a task or project that the recipient normally does

This is a great one to gift parents. Even as adults, we tend to let our parents do the things they have always done for us. A mom will likely always jump up to do dishes after dinner and if you're anything like my grandpa, if you mention something is broken, he tries to fix it. So now is your opportunity to do that for them. Give the gift of handling their least favorite chore. Maybe they pick up dry cleaning every Monday or wash their car each Saturday. Do it for them! And don't just offer and expect them to hunt you down each time. You have to be there to fulfill the gift. Do it before they ask. Unable to do this because of proximity or schedule conflicts? Purchase a service that will do it for them. That could look like a cleaning service for 3 months or a gift certificate to the car wash. They will appreciate the fact you know they need more time to relax and less time working.

Quality Time
separating some time where they have your undivided attention

The person that receives love most by spending time together is the easiest to please! Take them out for a meal or coffee, schedule a manicure together - whatever the person likes to do! Just arrange time on your calendars to do it together. If your dad loves to golf, book time at the driving range for the two of you. Have an aunt that loves road trips? Block out a day to go to restaurant or museum or shop a couple hours away. You'll have plenty of time to catch up on the latest news in each other's life, enjoy the scenery, and maybe go somewhere new.

Lastly, if none of these ideas really seem like the best fit, consider making a donation to a charity in the recipients name. Choose a cause that relates to them, what they're passionate about, or an organization they are already involved with. This shows that you support their projects and causes and it benefiting more then just the recipient. If you're unsure what organization they may appreciate, here's a list of a variety of causes and non-profits to get you thinking.

Animal Protection
Your local animal rescue service

Civil Rights

Children & Education
Your local Boys & Girls Club
Your local United Way

Food & Health
Your local food pantry or food bank

Relief & Development

*This list is merely a recommendation to provoke thought. While I'm a supporter of some of these organizations, I encourage you to do your own research before determining what organizations you would prioritize and support. I am not able to vouch for the entire list and would always recommend you support local organizations first.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

2018 Gift Guide : Him

Why are men so hard to buy for?! Seriously, even my husband has a difficult time thinking of gifts for his guy friends and he knows them well! I'm not sure what it is, but men, generally speaking, are the difficult ones on my shopping list ever year. Looking through other gift guides is helpful, but it seems so many gifts are centered around drinking and most of the men I know either do not drink or are super low maintenance when it comes to drinking - just hand them a cold beer and they are happy.

All that being said, I've come up with a few things that I think are great ideas, most of them I'm gifting to someone I know this year!

 Yeti Cooler | Drill Set | Sock Set | Watch Band | Henley
VansSpreeza box | Poster

Yeti Cooler | My hubby is a Yeti fanatic. He is constantly buying and selling and trading their products so he can give them all a try. The quality is always top notch and keeps drinks cold for days. This new style is a backpack, making it more convenient to carry. It's perfect for hiking, picnics, and pretty much any other one day trip.

Drill Set | GUYS, this almost went on my women's gift guide. It's so lightweight even my weak little arms can manage it without getting tired. Also, with a cordless drill, I find they are often not as powerful as a corded drill, but not this one! It packs a punch and comes with a nifty carrying case and 2 batteries to keep your project moving along without the wait.

Sock Set | Patterned socks on men just make me so happy. It shows they are carefree and don't care what others think. You might think that's saying a lot, but just look at the colors and patterns available from Happy Socks! They have everything you've ever thought of!

Watch band | When KJB made the switch from his fashion watch to an Apple watch, I admit I was a little bummed, because I thought the fashion watch did so much for his style. But, there are so many watch band options, he can easily change up the style just by swapping the band.

Henley | Everyone and their brother is sporting a henley this year; it's seriously the go-to style. If the guy on your list hasn't hopped on board the trend train, pick one up for him in a lovely color. I particularly love the slim fit of this one.

Vans | Shoes are a great gift for a guy for a few reasons. First, they rarely buy them for themselves unless they have worn out the last pair. Second, they are hard on their shoes! Maybe that's just KJB, but his shoes always look like they just ran 500 miles. For the past two years, I've picked up a new pair of dressier casual shoes for him, but this year, I'm going the route of the sneaker in a fun, unexpected color.

Spreeza Box | If you haven't heard of this genius subscription box yet, get ready to thank me for the introduction. Your man will love his box so much, he'll want to take it on a date. Literally he will don his goodies and leave you at home just to get some alone time with them. I ordered a couple months of this amazing box for KJB three years ago and he loved it so much he started asking for it from multiple people for his birthday and Christmas. It comes with 5 or 6 products like socks, ties, lapel pins, sunglasses, bracelets, pocket squares, watch bands, etc.

Poster | Look around your home, or the home of the guy on your list. Is there much there that represents him/his style/his interests? Probably not. It seems that typically our home decor styles tend toward a more femme flair. This year, try to find a poster, painting, or sculpture, that really speaks to his style. Now that doesn't mean, go to Hobby Lobby and find the man cave aisle. For example, this poster is actually a geological chart showing earth layers. It's colorful, interesting, and something you wouldn't have to hide in the garage. Think of a couple of your man's interests and search on etsy or shopify til you find a piece of art you think he would love!